Stakeholders recommend stiffer punishments as Ogun ritual killings rise.
Ritual killings are common in many Nigerian states, including Kano, Edo, Zamfara, Imo, Enugu, Osun, Oyo, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers, Abia, and Ogun. However, current records reveal that the illnesses are more prevalent in Ogun State. With the documented occurrences, the state is gradually becoming the country’s center for ritual killings. In the previous 13 months, 11 Ogun people have died and their body parts have been sold to human parts traders by ritualists. Between January 2022 and January 2023, the state registered 15 occurrences of ritual killings. An outraged mob set fire to two accused ritualists, while twenty-four others were apprehended. Two people narrowly avoided being murdered by ritualists who planned to sell their body parts to customers. These concerning development may have prompted the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, to encourage trado-medical practitioners in the state to intervene and put an end to the heinous conduct.
A mother of two was brutally killed and her body parts were sold 14 days after the governor’s plea. Even the dead were not permitted to rest in peace, with 43 graves unearthed and skulls exhumed. As of the filing of this report, the most recent occurrence of ritual killings happened on December 28, 2022 in the state’s Ijebu-Ode area. A gang allegedly murdered three women, including one of their girlfriends, after sleeping with her. Taiwo Ajalorun, a 36-year-old herbalist, allegedly confessed to the heinous murder of a 26-year-old mother of two and two others in the state’s Ijebu Ode district. Ajalorun and his accomplice, Lukman Oladele, were accused of strangling the woman shortly after sex and selling her body parts, including her heart and legs.
Two teenagers and others were caught burning the head of a female teenager.
On January 29, 2022, two teens and two others were captured burning the head of a female teenager, Sofia, whom they allegedly slaughtered for money ceremonial purposes in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Wariz Oladehinde, 17, Abdul Gafar Lukman, 19, Mustakeem Balogun, 20, and another named Soliu were apprehended in the act by a guard, Segun Adewusi, who notified the police at the Adatan Police Station. The court had discharged one of them. An enraged crowd set fire to two accused ritualists on February 12, 2022, in Oja-Odan, Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state, for possessing human parts.
In a statement, the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, denounced the act. The enraged mob stormed the police station where the suspects were being interviewed, overpowered the officers on duty, hijacked the detainees, beat them to death, and set their bodies ablaze. Peter Albert, a suspected online fraudster, died on April 9, 2022, shortly after allegedly engaging in a money ritual in the state’s Ado-Odo/Ota LGA. According to reports, he sought the advice of a Muslim cleric for a money-making ceremony that ended his life. Kushimo Lukman, a mortuary attendant, was arrested in Abeokuta, the state capital, on April 27, 2022, for chopping off the skull of a dead boy. Lukman, who was apprehended on routine patrol by men from the state-owned security agency So-Safe Corps, said the severed head was sought by one Ifalonishe for N50,000.
A victim’s body was cut into pieces by her attacker.
On July 1, 2022, a suspected yahoo boy allegedly ‘used’ a mentally-unstable young lady in Abeokuta for ritual; she stripped naked and growled like a dog. According to Oyeyemi, the young lady was allegedly used spiritually and diabolically by a suspected yahoo boy, following which she began barking like a dog. On October 10, 2022, two suspected Internet scammers, dubbed the “Yahoo boys,” allegedly murdered a 40-year-old man named Abdullahi Azeez in the state’s Owode-Egba region. The victim’s body was sliced up in the jungle by the accused for ritual purposes, according to a state police official. The state police command detained four accused ritual murders on November 10, 2022, in connection with the disappearance of Aminat Adebayo, a 36-year-old lady.
Adebayo was reported missing on September 15, 2022, when she was kidnapped and killed for ceremonial purposes by four suspects, one of which was a hotelier named Soneye Lateef. Oyeyemi revealed that the perpetrators were Azeez Raimi, 21, Yusuf Saheed, 33, Awodero Michael, 27, and Soneye Lateef, 39. On November 22, 2022, a preacher and two others were arrested for kidnapping and killing Adekunle Muyiwa, 39, and dismembering his body for ceremonial purposes. Oyeyemi identified the suspects as Idowu Abel, Clement Adeniyi, and Pastor Felix Ajadi, saying that during questioning, Abel admitted that the victim, who was his best buddy, was enticed out and transported to his second accomplice, Adeniyi’s farm, where he was killed and his body mutilated.
The stakeholders are worried about development.
The House of Representatives encouraged the federal government to declare a social vice a national emergency. The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), decried the rise in ritual killings and violent attacks on on-duty police officers and ethnic minorities in February. On December 14, 2022, the governor of Ogun State encouraged collaboration between the government and traditional medicine practitioners to reduce ritual killings. Abiodun expressed his concerns about the development during a one-day workshop on a campaign against ritual killings and quackery for the promotion of a wholesome alternate medicine practice for the protection of the people. The state governor condemned the heinous deeds of ritual murders and the poor image they had given the state.
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